Routes into university

Qualifications you need to study chemistry at university

What are the entry requirements?

These vary enormously between universities and some courses are more demanding than others.

UCAS has a comprehensive database of courses available and their entry requirements. The UCAS points system takes account of a wide range of qualifications – full details can be found on their website. A different points system is operated in the Republic of Ireland and details are provided on the Central Applications Office website.

In addition to academic achievements, university admissions tutors consider how you use your free time. Work experience in a relevant area can help your application, but your hobbies can also provide important evidence of team work, determination and other useful skills.

Do I need maths to study chemistry at university?

Maths is an extremely important part of nearly all chemistry degree courses. Although an A-level (or equivalent) in maths is not always an entry requirement, you will find some aspects of the course more difficult if you have not studied maths to this level. You may also be required to do a ‘catch-up’ course in maths once you reach university, and most universities will provide additional maths support during your degree. If you have another year left at school or college, think about taking AS (or equivalent) maths or a free-standing maths qualifications (algebra & calculus are particularly useful).

What if I don’t have the necessary qualifications?

Some universities offer a foundation year (access course) as part of their chemistry course. These one-year programmes are designed for students who have shown the ability, but do not have the necessary grades or subjects for direct entry onto a BSc/MChem/MSci course. They cover a range of topics, including laboratory work, a project, mathematics and elements of other science subjects. After completing the foundation year you should be eligible to progress onto the university’s BSc/MChem/MSci course.

For more information on different routes into university, talk to university admissions tutors or visit the Access to HE website. You could also consider an apprenticeship as the entry requirements may vary. 

Distance learning A-level

Brockenhurst college offer chemistry AS and A2 distance learning courses with tutorials. Successful completion of both courses (normally over 2 years) leads to a full A-level chemistry award from OCR.



Which degree?

Outline of the different types of university chemistry courses available with help on how to choose a degree that will suit you.

An image showing a UK university lecture theatre

Which university?

Ideas on what to consider when you are choosing a university to study chemistry.


Student finance

Find out how much university is likely to cost, where to apply for student finance and ideas on additional sources of income.


Gap year

Ideas on what you can do, what you can gain and what to consider when thinking about taking a gap year.